Tag Archives: Slovakia

Slovak’d!

Slovakia defeated Italy on 24 June 2010 (David Cannon/Getty Images)

For the first time in World Cup history, the two finalists from the previous World Cup did not make it to the knockout stage. France’s exit was hardly unexpected, given that they weren’t very good and, perhaps more importantly, karma’s a bitch. That would be divine retribution for Thierry Henry’s blatant handball. But Italy is another story. Slovakia’s 3-2 victory was a bit of shock.

The Italians have developed a bit of a reputation as slow starters who eventually get all their pistons firing. Strange thing about 2010, though, is that never happened. Italy constantly looked lethargic, with bad passing and inadequate players. In fact, Italy looked old. And that, boys and girls, was the main problem. The Italian team was old; it relied too much on old warhorses like Fabio Cannavaro, who should have been thanked for his service and reduced to a substitute. The strikers couldn’t find the net; in effect, they couldn’t do their job. Marcello Lippi, who left the field without shaking hands with the Slovakian manager (which I really have no problem with, but it is kinda classless, though he redeemed himself by falling on his sword at the post-match press conference), failed to inject the squad with youth. And yes, I mean Giuseppe Rossi, among others. How much did he want Rossi to come on the field in the second half for a much-needed spark? I know that’s what I wanted.

The problem is a little more systemic, though. Italy was an old team because they don’t have young players to replace the veterans. The lack of development at Italian clubs is catching up with the national team (for example, everyone makes a big deal out of the fact that Italy’s best team – Inter Milan – did not have one Italian on the World Cup squad), and it’s going to cost them. The Italian FA need to ensure that domestic clubs develop talent. And the national team needs to start accepting players that don’t play in Italy (England and Spain have better leagues).

This is hardly a crippling problem, to be sure. It is fixed relatively easily. The Italian FA needs to hire a manager unafraid to make changes.

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World Cup 2010: Group F jerseys

Group F is Italy and a bunch of others who probably won’t do much. But since I’m looking at all 32 teams, here we go…

Italy home jersey for the 2010 World Cup

I want to hate this shirt. I really do. It’s Italy, after all, and nobody like Italy except for Italians and people who claim to be from “the old country.” But I can’t hate it. It’s too nice. The best thing about the shirt, aside from the color, is that the little designs actually add to it. The white stripes break up the blue while the subtle designs in the body add an illusion of fluidity. Hell, even the collar is interesting and not stupid. Dammit. Also, I’m hoping they bring back their brown jerseys from last year’s Confederations Cup.

New Zealand home jersey for the 2010 World Cup

They’re not called the All Blacks for nothing. I feel like I should mention that I’ll give the Kiwis a pass on my automatic hatred of black jerseys because it’s their traditional color. And I respect that.

Paraguay home jersey for the 2010 World Cup

I look at this shirt and I think barber shop pole. That’s not a good thing. On the other hand, the shirt isn’t terrible and the Paraguayan Football Association’s logo is rather cool.

Slovakia home jersey for the 2010 World Cup

The perils of being lucky to get into the World Cup: you get less than Adidas’s best effort. This is, I believe, a template from a couple of years ago, which isn’t on its face a bad thing, but it’s not a good thing, either. I nothing this shirt… it stirs no feelings in me whatsoever.

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